Frustration Friday: Welcome to The Legal Tarpit

Dear Geekonomy. I've had enough lawsuits, thank you.

Oh yes, I know, we all love some hot and heavy legal action, with incomprehensible documents and giant piles of ill-defined copyrights. I mean who doesn't enjoy reading that stuff or listening to the debates?

Oh, yeah, I forgot. Most of us who want to get stuff done.

Look, by now I've seen enough lawsuit mania in our news reports and links of the day that it's clearly getting ridiculous.  If people aren't suing each other over stupid things, they're preparing preemptively for lawsuits, or they're suing over things that are validly stupid but shouldn't have happened anyway.  Maybe they're just lawyering up and acquiring patents to head off other stupidity.

It's a joke.  It's bizarre.  It's like some kind of parody out of "Brazil" or a sitcom ("I Love My Lawsuit!").  There are blizzards of lawsuits, defensive patent acrobatics, strange claims, and odd posturing.  This onslaught feels too surreal, to strange.

Is this actually doing anything?  Achieving anything?

In too many cases it's not – and it seems to me when the lawsuits do make sense (and there are times they do), they're brought for reasons that shouldn't have come up.  All this energy wasted, all this time taken, all this bad will for nothing.

Nothing gets invented.  Nothing gets innovated.  All this energy directed at legal acrobatics, all the bad will, all the strange agreements, this results in nothing.  There is no benefit, no advantage, no gain for anyone long-term.

There's also not a lot of rationality.  It's hard as hell to plan around this legal lunacy your career and your ambitions and your products.

At least I get a snarky column out of it.  But I'd rather go be sarcastic about marketing trends or something as opposed to this.

Those of you in Geek Law?  Looks like you'll be busy for a few years, but I hope some of you will be able to broker a larger peace and a smarter system in the years to come.  It'd certainly be welcome.

Steven Savage